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What to make when it's sweltering?

Trying to think of heat-proof confections for the summer. Every week I make 7-800 little bite sized treats that we give with the bill at the restaurant. Truffles were great for the winter, but it's getting too warm in both the kitchen and the dining room to produce and hold truffles. Last summer I made pate de fruits, which hold up well, but which I'm pretty sure gave me a splatter burn every single time I made it. Too much pain.

Ive been working on some gelatin gummies that I like and that don't hurt, but they seem to get droopy in the heat as well. I've been adding agar to help the texture, maybe more agar and/or cook the syrup to a hotter temperature?

How do hard candies hold up?

Nougat? Humidity can be an issue but I'm more concerned about heat.

Cookies are an option, especially easy to pipe or slice and bake. Amaretti? Has anyone tried cutting shortbread with the guitar?

Candied nuts seem a little too simple - what else besides chocolate would make them special?

What are your favorite treats that stand up to heat?


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

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Hard candy won't hold up for more than a day or two without special handling/holding.

I have had a wonderful nougat by Anil Rohira at WPF made with freeze dried strawberries (check your local natural grocer), candied violets, candied rose petal, candied jasmine, and pistachios. The recipe can be downloaded HERE, scroll down and select Crystallized Flower Nougat.

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I would be inclined to stay away from caramels, they would get very soft with the heat unless you boil to a higher temp to compensate. If your familiar with hard candies, I would give those a shot. After they are pulled and cut, toss with a little confectioners sugar and/or starch. It will keep them from sticking together so bad, and seems to make them considerably more resistant to humidity. Something else would be to try making pillow mints, you can find the formula in C&C 2nd edition. They are a pulled candy, but because of the higher water content, they crystallize in a day, making then extreamly resistant to absorbing moisture. As for your gummies, I'd stick withe the gelatin and boil to a higher temp. But, actually, now that you mentioned agar agar, why not make a jellie with that? Easier to work with then pectin in making jellies. I'd look also at other crystallized candies, like fudges and the like.

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I'm going to try those Apricot Confections. Sounds good. Thanks.

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What kind of heat are we talking about? You could do marshmallows.

Marshmallow is a good suggestion. You could pipe them, I think that would look nice presented with the check, also you'd have alot of flexibility with the flavors.

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Little meringues. You could do flavoured ones--like lemon, strawberry, etc. You could pipe them in different shapes if you wanted. I love meringues. And they'd hold up well in heat, though not so much in humidity.

If you're doing cookies, Gesine Bullock-Prado has a cookie recipe called Starry Starry Nights or something like that. They're a gluten-free cookie made with almond flour. Very simple to put together, and delicious. I think they'd hold up well in heat.

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If humidity isn't an issue, pastillage and gumpaste flowers or something similar, which can be flavoured however you please, hold up fantastically in the high heat so long as they're properly dried.

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Thanks for all the ideas. Humidity is somewhat of an issue - this is Seattle and it has been warm and muggy the last few days - but the greater one is it being upper 90'sF in the kitchen during dinner service. It's better in the dining room, but still warm.

Definitely not caramels! I already have some on the menu, and there is no way I am going to individually wrap 700+ a week!

I did some R&D today... I made a nougat from Chocolates & Confections with almonds, pistachios, sour cherries, and figs. Turned our great, but a little firm and a major pain to cut into squares. I may try a softer batch. Is it better to let it sit, or can you cut it as soon as it's cool?

My lemon cookies seem like a good option for now. I made a brown butter Russian tea cake type cookie with some lemon zest and juice, patted the dough into a ganache frame, chilled, cut on the guitar, baked, and rolled in powdered sugar. Easy enough, tasty, pretty, and should keep for a few days.

Less successful were the lemon drops and the agar jellies. Recipes from Greweling. I have zero experience with hard candy so I didn't pull it, just deposited it into small hemisphere fleximolds. What types of flavoring is used for hard candy? Can you use liqueurs? Is there a way to use a confectionery funnel to portion them without having to spend considerable time later trying to remove a cone of hard-crack sugar from said funnel?

Agar jellies didn't seem to set up very well, were flaccid and sticky. I re-formed them with more agar, we'll see tomorrow how that worked.

Marshmallow would be fine if I didn't hate marshmallow. I make it every now and then, but usually end up throwing it away in disgust. Nougat is good because it's chewier and has lots of stuff in it. And s'mores and rice krispie treats are fine, just not plain cold marshmallow. How about nougat rice krispie treats?


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

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What about a form of kueh? I know it's not typical in the US, but they're great in hot, sticky areas like Singapore and Malaysia... I don't know if it goes with your flavor profile, but sticky rice soaked in sweetened and slightly salty coconut cream is awesome! Pair it with some good fruit in season, ot toasted coconut/peanuts... Yum!

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re Hard Candy:

I haven't tried flavoring with liqueurs they might not be flavorful enough, but, I dunno. Usually the flavor is added towards the end, right before shocking, you can use oil soluble/based flavors. You use a tiny amount, I have tried some from the local fancy supermarket and they work ok. My stash of Amoretti flavors is superior in variety of flavors and the intensity. If I had a choice, I'd order from Amoretti.

You might want to try bringing the sugar up til it's just barely caramelized, it will be brown but it will taste better with many flavors than just plain clear sugar. Even peppermint is improved with caramel sugar, nut flavors are much improved by it.

You can pipe the sugar, but, it's dangerous. It's done for sugar showpieces. Make an ice bath in case of emergency. Take parchment paper and make a fairly large piping bag 8 layers thick and staple it together. (you want the size bag you get two of by taking a full size sheet of parchment, trimming the excess off the square and cutting once on the diagonal) Do not cut the tip until it is filled. Put on double gloves. Fill ONLY halfway. Fold down top once and staple in place on the first fold. Fold down top, until fairly tight. (you have that ice bath ready, right?) Trim tip and go. Be very, very careful. When I was in school, a student did not realize that sugar had oozed out of the top of her bag and she burned her wrist so badly that the tendons were all cooked -she's permanently handicapped with almost no use of the wrist.

If you want to save the sugar from the bag, let it cool, break it up, place on a silpat and heat in the oven carefully, then gather it into a 'patty' as it cools and wrap tightly for later use.. You can also do this to make what some people call bubble sugar for decorations or sugar bowls, etc. Place smaller amounts on a silpat and bake until bubbly. (or, tiny amounts into the cavities of silicon molds. If you do this with smaller amounts in clumps you can peel them off while warm and form over a ladle to make an airy bowl for desserts. Or, just make baroque shapes to decorate things.

You might want to consider a nut brittle of some sort, perhaps with a more expensive nut like cashew. Those can be dropped into silicone muffin molds to make circles.

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Less successful were the lemon drops and the agar jellies. Recipes from Greweling. I have zero experience with hard candy so I didn't pull it, just deposited it into small hemisphere fleximolds. What types of flavoring is used for hard candy? Can you use liqueurs? Is there a way to use a confectionery funnel to portion them without having to spend considerable time later trying to remove a cone of hard-crack sugar from said funnel?

Youd flavor a hard candy with an oil, I use LorAnns, which offers a wide range of flavors, but I'm sure you could easily find a citrus oil, I personally would just stay away from extracts. About the liquor, its not something I've tried, but I would assume it would have a negative affect on the hard candy. Being acidic, the liquor would invert the sugar during boiling, making it more hygroscopic, aside from not really knowing how much of that flavor boils off. Hardy candy really is best left to being flavored with an oil, and if you want liquor flavors, you can find candy oils that range from burgundy wine to a lemon drop martini. Also, on the funnel, its again not something that I would recommend. The sugar will clog, even gummies will clog, being as soft as they are. Thats why when doing depositing you typically have a pot of boiling water to dip the funnel in to warm, which works fine with gummies and fondant, but absolutely none of that water can touch the hard candy. If you want to do sugar pulling, just give it a try, get some thick gloves, its quite fun, otherwise if you want to deposit candies into the silicone molds, I'd stick to a metal pitcher.

And as Lisa said in the above post, a nut brittle doesnt sound bad, perhaps a sesame brittle with a cardamom or something, you could easily have fun with that. Let us know what you decide on, and we want pictures!

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I imagine that this is too much effort for something that is basically free, but cannoli may work because you can make the shells in advance and then pipe the filling in as you need them. A sweetened ricotta filling may be more heat resistant than custard, but the idea is that it's all refrigerated anyway until you actually need one, then you fill them on demand. A local beach kiosk uses this approach and it works really well - despite the modest appearance you actually get great cannoli from them because they aren't soggy!

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A couple of Italian heat-proof cookies recipes. Both are from Sicily, where we have really hot summers.

Your idea to make Amaretti is wonderful and you could also do Savoiardi (Lady's finger) biscuits or stuffed dates, dried figs or dried apricots. Marzipan is wonderful to stuff dried fruit, but you can also mix almonds, crumbled amarettis, candied fruit, little pieces of chocolate...

ALMOND PASTE PASTRIES

(Typical Sicily recipe)

Ingredients:

4 ½ cups of blanched almonds

3 ½ cups of sugar

1 cup candied orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 drops bitter almond extract

3 ½ tbsp honey (better acacia honey)

2 tablespoons Red Rose Rosolio or Arancello or

Amaretto Liqueur

1 ½ cups egg white

a pinch of salt

candied cherries, almonds and coffee beans to decorate

Blend the almonds and the sugar in a mixer to obtain flour.

Crush the candied orange zest in a mortar until they are creamy.

Put in a bowl all the ingredients and mix well.

Put the dough in a pastry decorating bag and squeeze out the pastries on a baking tin covered by baking paper.

They pastries diameter should be about 4-5 cm (1.5 – 2 inches).

Make a little tuft on the top of each pastry.

Let rest for 24 hours in the fridge.

Decorate each pastry with a candied cherry or an almond or a coffee bean.

Preheat the oven at 390 F.

Bake the pastries for about 10 minutes.

Take out immediately when they turn pale yellow.

The pastries should remain soft inside.

Serve cold.

Store the pastries for 2-3 weeks in a tin canister

PETRAMENNULA

(Typical Sicilian nougat)

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups of honey

7 oz of almonds

1 lb of orange zests (the orange part only)

olive oil

Cut the orange zests into stripes from 5 mm to 1 cm (0.2 – 0.4 inches) wide.

Coarsely crush the almonds.

Boil the honey and orange zests in a saucepan until the mixture begins to solidify.

Add the almonds and continue to mix the ingredients until the mixture becomes very hard.

Grease a marble pastry board with olive oil.

Pour the mixture on it.

Let cool and cut into small rectangles.

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Olmoelisa pointed you in the same direction I was going to suggest: a small, rich cookie or confection made with almond (or other nut) paste. Melt-proof, humidity proof, and interesting enough to be remembered.

Sugared, spiced pecans or other nuts.

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Those Sicilian almond cookies sound good, I might have to play with them. Sounds a bit fussy, but I like anything with a long shelf life!

For now I'm going with the pillow/butter mints. No cooking or baking required. I've done 2 batches mixed up in the kitchen aid with the paddle then smushed into a ganache frame (parchment under and over and use a rolling pin to level it out). I let it crust over a bit then cut it on the guitar (anything that can be cut on the guitar is a plus!), just need to work out how long to let it crust and see whether both sides need to firm up before cutting or just the bottom. We'll see how the feedback is, but for now I'm loving these! Thanks, Minas!

I made another batch of nougat last weekend, cooked it a little less firm and used rice krispies coated with cocoa butter as my inclusions - good, easier but still a pain to cut and neither batch held their shape very well. Too much a labor of love for something that doesn't hold up.

I will have to try pulling hard candies one day when I have time. I should have some citrus oils somewhere, and I have peppermint oil. It would be fun to be able to add that to my repertoire.

Thanks for all your ideas!


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

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I'll second the Torrone (Italian Nougat) idea; relatively simple and quick to make (except for crystallization time) and traditional after dinner.

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Dear Chocolate People,

Next week I am flying from Switzerland to California, and I don't dare show up without boxes of chocolates.

Would you carry them on or check them in your luggage? I have no experience with this.

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Dear Chocolate People,

Next week I am flying from Switzerland to California, and I don't dare show up without boxes of chocolates.

Would you carry them on or check them in your luggage? I have no experience with this.

I'd probably just take them in my carry on.

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Olmoelisa, is that the zest from 1 lb. of oranges, or 1 lb. of the zest peeled from G-d knows how many oranges? (We have hot summers here in south Florida, too!)

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Dear Chocolate People,

Next week I am flying from Switzerland to California, and I don't dare show up without boxes of chocolates.

Would you carry them on or check them in your luggage? I have no experience with this.

I'd do carry on in an airtight container - and put that in a cooler bag.

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Thanks minas6907 and Kerry, I will carry on my chocolates.

Now I just have to be sure that I get them home without eating them.....

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Dear Chocolate People,

Next week I am flying from Switzerland to California, and I don't dare show up without boxes of chocolates.

Would you carry them on or check them in your luggage? I have no experience with this.

If you have spare euros at the end of your trip, I would recommend using them to buy some more chocolate at the airport shops. That can be your extra chocolate stash to keep you from getting into your gift chocolate. :smile:

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